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20th Jun 2023

Irish shoppers warned of fruit and veg shortage

Irish shoppers are being warned that there is set to be a shortage of home grown fruit and vegetables for the rest of the year.

Agricultural Consultant with Teagasc, Dr Richard Hackett, has said that due to heavy rain early in the year followed by hot weather, growth levels have been impacted.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, he said: “The weather is not playing ball with us, but that’s not really the problem. The big problem is that the farmers – vegetable and potato growers – are not in a position to take on the pressures that weather comes with in the present time.

“We’d a very dry February starting off, then we had a very wet March and April, and then we got very dry.

“Overall our rainfall is probably normal enough, but it’s coming in bursts… and crops don’t really like that”.

He added that during the summer months, we normally have soil moisture reserves that allow crops to grow but due to the recent weather, this is now not the case.

“The crops are designed to work in the temperate climate that we have. They take this long day length with the heat and moisture, and they grow very rapidly,” he said.

“If one is missing – if it’s very cold or it’s very dry – one of the ingredients are missing, so the crops don’t grow the way they should.

“What happened this year, during the very wet March and April, we just couldn’t plant the crops; the crops are sitting in boxes and seed bags where they shouldn’t be.

“Then when the weather stopped raining, the moisture deficit meant that the crops couldn’t establish [themselves]”.

Hackett has now warned that importing crops from Spain or Britain could be more difficult this year as this this happening across Europe.

“They’ve had a very difficult time too, much more so [in] structural problems. In Spain, for instance, they use aquifers for their irrigation and that’s not available,” he added.

“They’ve labour issues, and they have poor returns from growers too – so there isn’t the stuff there in Europe.

“There isn’t the stuff from the UK [because] Brexit had a severe impact on our supply chain. The growers in the UK are under severe pressure as well; the number of growers in the UK is collapsing. They had worse weather than we had.”

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